Red heart emoji? Red flag.

Imagine you just started dating someone. You met online because it’s 2016 and we all need some way of screening people more elaborately. Also, you live in a big city and the last time you went on a date with someone you randomly met out in public was three years ago, and he bit you.

You’ve been talking online for a week or so, and agreed to a first date, which ends up going pretty well. He told you a somewhat questionable story about his female ‘friend’ who previously went on an OkCupid date with someone who later confessed to be a serial killer, but he reassures you that he is not that guy and you actually believe him. Things are good.

As it goes, after that first date, you start texting a little more. You find out that he plays more sports than the token lesbian on a sitcom, and he discovers that you proudly (and stereotypically) own nearly 100 pairs of shoes.

You go on another date and share a first kiss in the upstairs deserted dining room of an Elephant & Castle. The lighting is dim and the air is warm. It’s all really promising. The thought of taking a selfie with him crosses your mind.

The offence happens just a few days later. You were casually talking about what you now assume to be his drinking problem when the next incoming text assaults your eyes. There it is. It’s not yellow. It’s not blue, or green. Heck, it isn’t even the purple one. It’s red. A red heart emoji.

You react as any normal dating person would: WTF?

I’d be pretty quick to argue that 90% of people with smart phones would agree that the red heart emoji is the most serious and meaningful of all heart emojis. It is the sort of emoji that you only send to someone you obviously love, like a family member, your best friend, or your longtime significant other. Otherwise, that shit is a red flag.

Through my very scientific research conducted through surveying about 7 of my best friends, the red heart emoji comes about once you’ve been dating someone for at least 6 months. Before that, it’s best to use either yellow, blue, or green to show your affection without taking it too far. (I like to reserve purple for my sister and best friends because we like purple.)

The person who uses a red heart emoji any time before the 6-month mark– and there is literally no exception to this– is the kind of person who will take things too quickly and push for them to move faster, only to bail on dates and stop reading your texts (because they’re also dumb enough to have read receipts) after about 3–4 weeks. Trust me.

And so, because I truly care about all of you being happy and having successful dates, I’m working on a little guide to help you out with some emojis and the appropriate times to send them… (To be posted soon. You’re welcome.)

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Originally published at liannapisani.wordpress.com on January 24, 2016.